Chris Jasper - Invincible (2007)

Chris Jasper
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Two decades removed from his significant but often underappreciated role with the Isley Brothers, Chris Jasper continues to soldier on as a solo artist.  One could argue that as the writer of some of the funkiest jams and sweetest soul ballads of his generation, Jasper has nothing more to prove.  But the man who wrote about making love "Between the Sheets" has spent his post Isley Brothers career singing a very different tune -- one of Christianity and the power of faith, a theme that continues on his 8th solo album, Invincible.

Two decades removed from his significant but often underappreciated role with the Isley Brothers, Chris Jasper continues to soldier on as a solo artist.  One could argue that as the writer of some of the funkiest jams and sweetest soul ballads of his generation, Jasper has nothing more to prove.  But the man who wrote about making love "Between the Sheets" has spent his post Isley Brothers career singing a very different tune -- one of Christianity and the power of faith, a theme that continues on his 8th solo album, Invincible.

Lyrically, Invincible is another step forward for Jasper, as he pulls the foundation for each of the ten tracks directly from scripture, even citing his inspiration for each cut.  As expected, Jasper demonstrates on Invincible that he is still a quality songwriter.  Hooky tracks like the title cut, "Come On And Testify" and "Keep Reaching Higher" are among his finest solo compositions.  Even more surprising is that, at age 56, Jasper's voice sounds stronger and more assured than ever, now increasing resembling Daryl Hall's (especially on cuts like "Thank You Lord") and even better representing his compositions.

The biggest challenge on Invincible is that it doesn't always play to Jasper's strengths.  He's created so many memorable funk cuts and ballads, it is surprising that this disc spends so much time in-between -- mild mid-tempo numbers dominate the album.  And with Jasper acting as a one man band, with a heavy dose of programmed electronics and an underrepresentation of real instruments, there is a sameness to the sound of many of the tunes that takes away from the power of the compositions. So when a true dance cut like "Come On And Testify" arrives, it is like a breath of fresh air and gives a new, more exciting feel to Invincible that makes the listener wish for more variation on the rest of the disc.

It's a great thing to see Chris Jasper still writing and singing so well as he approaches his 5th decade of recording, and there is no indication that he will be slowing the pace soon.  And while it would be more powerful with expanded instrumentation and a bit more funkiness, Invincible is undoubtedly a worthy release and another solid addition to Jasper's discography.

By Chris Rizik

 

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